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Let's Get This Party Started: Avalanche Begin New Season Tonight

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The 2008-09 NHL regular season finally begins tonight for the Colorado Avalanche.  After a disappointing end to last year and a lackluster off-season (at least on paper), our brave boys in burgundy and blue take to the ice against the Boston Bruins in the Pepsi Center at 8:00 PM Mountain time.

Now, there are two ways of looking at the season ahead of us.  One way is with bitter pessimism and doubt.  The other is with optimism and excitement.

For those of you determined to see the worst in everything, Adrian Dater has an article for you, called "A Season of Uncertainty":

To the skeptics, the Avalanche looks like a team on the decline. The starting goalie from last season is gone, the first-line center is 39 years old and the crop of youngsters on the way isn't a threat to upstage Sidney Crosby or Alex Ovechkin anytime soon.

...

If the Avs played in the vanilla Eastern Conference, they might be a top-four team. But in the beastly West, they'll be fortunate to make the playoffs.

Thanks for the pep talk, Knut Rockne. 

For those of you who prefer to seek silver linings and glimpses of hope, Rick Sadowski offers a far more upbeat, "Sakic, Avs Brimming With Confidence":

It should come as no surprise that optimism abounds throughout the Avalanche organization heading into the 2008-09 regular season, which kicks off tonight against the Boston Bruins at the Pepsi Center.

Isn't that usually the way teams feel on the eve of a season opener?

So pick your poison.  Personally, I'm going with Sadowski this time, because I'd rather hear that the team is pumped and ready to go---no matter their weaknesses or potential problems---rather than a doom-and-gloom rehash of all the possible worst-case scenarios they could suffer through this year.

And, in case you have more time to kill, check out the rundown of interesting opening game stats the Avalanche web site put together.  I was unaware that Sakic has the most opening game goals of any active player.  Let's hope he pads that stat.

The first game thread of the season will post at 3 PM Mountain time today, and I wrote an essay for it, so be excited.